Arsenic and Old Lace

118 minutes 2013

Frank Capra directed this adaptation of the Broadway hit in 1942, shortly before he entered the service (though contractually it couldn't be released until 1944, when the Broadway production closed). The rush shows in some of the sloppiest, clumsiest work Capra and his star, Cary Grant, ever did: the timing is abysmal throughout, turning fast pace into numbing frenzy. Josephine Hull and Jean Adair, as the two old ladies who poison their gentlemen callers with elderberry wine, are refreshingly understated in this seriously strained context. With Raymond Massey (as Boris Karloff), Peter Lorre, Priscilla Lane, and Edward Everett Horton.

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